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  • 1.
    Abrahamsson, Gun
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Englund, Hans
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Organizational identity and management accounting change2011In: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, ISSN 1368-0668, E-ISSN 1758-4205, Vol. 24, no 3, p. 345-376Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose – This paper aims to examine how and why management accounting practices are linked to an organization's identity and identity discrepancies.

    Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative field study of a one-year change project in a large manufacturing company is used as the basis for the analysis.

    Findings – The empirical study reveals how discrepancies between organizational members' perceived identity and their construed external (and desired future) image both influence and are influenced by emergent accounting practices. Empirical evidence suggests such a reciprocal relationship between accounting and identity, since accounting practices are an important means of (de)legitimizing an organization's current self-perception.

    Research limitations/implications – The uncovered reciprocal relationship between management accounting practices and organizational identity (discrepancies) have implications for a broader literature, including the works on how different forms of control interact as a “control package” and the discourse on potential sources of organizational identity change.

    Originality/value – Although it has previously been suggested that management accounting may be an important means for, as well as an outcome of, processes of identity (re)constructions in organizations, this study suggests a more complex interplay than has previously been noted in the literature. Specifically, it was found that organizational identity may for a considerable time work as a highly influential and largely unquestioned categorical imperative, signifying the boundaries of appropriate organizational action. At times, however, accounting practices may spark (re)constructions of identity discrepancies through: providing identity-inconsistent evidence; and using (new) measures in a “feed-forward” manner to explore possible ways to close such perceived discrepancies.

  • 2.
    Englund, Hans
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Abrahamsson, Gun
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Accounting ambiguity and structural change2013In: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, ISSN 1368-0668, E-ISSN 1758-4205, Vol. 26, no 3, p. 423-448Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present an emergent model showing the change potential inherent in the mirroring of time-space bound metrics and numbers in management accounting (MA) and other cognitive frames.

    Design/methodology/approach - An observation-based qualitative field study of a change project in a large manufacturing company is used as the basis for the analysis.

    Findings - The empirical study shows that as actors recurrently mirror time-space bound metrics/numbers in MA and other cognitive frames, three forms of ambiguity may occur. Definitional ambiguities occur as actors' extant MA frame cannot fully account for the metric as such, while representational ambiguities occur as actors perceive uncertainties as to what a particular number stands for "in reality". Operational ambiguities, finally, occur as actors perceive uncertainties as to how time-space bound numbers can be "causally" explained. In the emergent model, the paper shows how these different forms of ambiguity constitute important sources of critical and collective reflection of, and subsequent change in, both metrics and MA and other cognitive frames.

    Originality/value - Through identifying and elaborating on the change potential inherent in the interplay between cognitive frames and time-space bound metrics and numbers, the study adds a partial, yet previously largely unexplored answer to the paradox of embedded agency in a MA context (i.e. how actors may change existing cognitive (MA) frames when their interpretations and actions are largely constrained and shaped by these very frames). Also, the study shows that it may not necessarily be the content of MA information per se that triggers critical reflection and structural MA change, but also the perceived ambiguities that such information use may engender.

  • 3.
    Gerdin, Jonas
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Englund, Hans
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Contesting commensuration: Public response tactics to performance evaluation of academia2019In: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, ISSN 1368-0668, E-ISSN 1758-4205, Vol. 32, no 4, p. 1098-1116Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore how actors subjected to public performance evaluations may “contest commensuration,” i.e. may seek to influence how such ratings and rankings will be construed among important stakeholders.

    Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study of press releases, and interviews with department heads, is used as a basis for the analysis.

    Findings: The empirically derived taxonomy of public responses to a state-initiated performance evaluation of educational programs shows that actors may mobilize an array of commensuration management tactics so as to maintain or improve one’s relative positional status. Such tactics may have at least three different foci, namely, on the comparison object (i.e. on the new grouping of actors), the comparison dimension (i.e. the standardized format for comparison) and the comparison rate (i.e. the rate received), respectively. The authors also find that not only are threats to positional status likely to spur commensuration management tactics, but also the opportunity to exploit a good rate.

    Originality/value: The paper augments recent research that has problematized the so-called “reactive conformance thesis” by focusing on how evaluated organizations may directly try to influence external stakeholders through public responses. The study is also one of the first that analytically disentangles how they may skillfully exploit different forms of “plasticity” that are inherent in any type of commensuration.

  • 4.
    Johansson, Tobias
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Siverbo, Sven
    Business Administration, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden.
    Camén, Carolina
    Karlstad Business School, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden.
    Managing cooperation, coordination, and legitimacy: control of contracted public services2016In: Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, ISSN 1368-0668, E-ISSN 1758-4205, Vol. 29, no 6, p. 1012-1037Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to create knowledge about what factors explain the design of control systems for contracted public services.

    Design/methodology/approach: Questionnaire data analyzed with structural equation models. Findings – Legitimacy-seeking is the most important driver in explaining intensity in control of contracted public services. Competition increases the intensity of control which is opposite to standard transaction cost reasoning. Coordination requirements do not affect the design of control systems for contracted public services.

    Research limitations/implications: The study suffers from limitations in the form of the use of perception and questionnaire data and imposes restrictions on empirical generalization.

    Practical implications: Supplier competition may add control costs rather than lower them. The strong focus on stakeholder alignment may induce more intensive control than necessary for supplier alignment.

    Originality/value: The authors add important knowledge on the determinants of control system design for contracted public sector services. The authors conceptualize and measure the control system in use in a more compelling manner than previous research.

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